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Test system for exposing fish to resuspended, contaminated sediment

Cope, W. G., Wiener, J. G., and Steingraeber, M. T., 1996, Test system for exposing fish to resuspended, contaminated sediment: Environmental Pollution, v. 91, no. 2, p. 177-182.


We describe a new test system for exposing fish to resuspended sediments and >associated contaminants. Test sediments were resuspended by revolving test chambers on rotating shafts driven by an electric motor. The timing, speed, and duration of test-chamber revolution were controlled by a rheostat and electronic timer. Each chamber held 45 litres of water and accommodated about 49 g of test fish. The system described had three water baths, each holding six test chambers. We illustrate the performance of this system with results from a 28-day test in which juvenile bluegills Lepomis macrochirus were exposed to resuspended, riverine sediments differing in texture and cadmium content. The test had one sediment-free control and five sediment treatments, with three replicates (chambers) per treatment and 25 fish per replicate. Two-thirds (30 litres) of the test water and sediment in each chamber was renewed weekly. The mean concentration of total suspended solids (TSS) did not vary among treatments; the grand-mean TSS in the five sediment treatments was 975 mg litre super(-1), similar to the target TSS of 1000 mg litre super(-1). At the end of the test, an average of 50% of the introduced cadmium was associated with the suspended sediment compartment, whereas the filtered (0.45 mu m) water contained 0.4% and bluegills 1.8% of the cadmium.

Keywords: testing procedures, cadmium, toxicity, fish, suspended sediments, experimental data, water pollution, water pollution effects, bottom sediments, sediment pollution, resuspended sediments, pollution effects, bioassays, test organisms, Lepomis macrochirus, toxicity testing

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